OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Haaland: No plan 'right now' for permanent drill leasing ban | Heat wave sparks historically unseasonable wildfires in West | Watchdog calls on Pentagon to detail 'forever chemicals' cleanup expenses

OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Haaland: No plan 'right now' for permanent drill leasing ban | Heat wave sparks historically unseasonable wildfires in West | Watchdog calls on Pentagon to detail 'forever chemicals' cleanup expenses
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IT IS WEDNESDAY, MY DUDES. Welcome to Overnight Energy, your source for the day’s energy and environment news. Please send tips and comments to Rachel Frazin at rfrazin@thehill.com . Follow her on Twitter: @RachelFrazin . Reach Zack Budryk at zbudryk@thehill.com or follow him at @BudrykZack

Today we’re looking at Interior Secretary Deb HaalandDeb HaalandOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Energy Dept. targets Trump rollbacks on appliance efficiency | Biden officials take second look at Arctic refuge drilling | Scientists study 'power source of stars' in climate fight Biden administration kicks off second look at Arctic refuge drilling Tracy Stone-Manning's confirmation treatment was simply unacceptable — and it must stop MORE’s testimony on Capitol Hill, an early start to wildfire season and a watchdog calling for a better insight into PFAS cleanup

DRILL BIT: Haaland: No plan 'right now' for permanent drill leasing ban

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Interior Secretary Deb Haaland told lawmakers on Wednesday that there is not currently a plan to permanently ban new drilling leases on public lands and waters. 

Haaland, during a House Natural Resources Committee hearing, also reiterated that the administration’s assessment of oil and gas drilling on public lands and oceans would be released in “early summer.”

“Gas and oil production will continue well into the future,” Haaland said. “I don’t think there is a plan right now for a permanent ban ... but, as I said, the review will come out early summer, and we will assess the fossil fuel programs at that time.”

“We want to make sure that American taxpayers are getting a good return on, essentially, their investment,” she also told the committee.

The story so far: When he was running for office, President BidenJoe BidenFive takeaways from the Ohio special primaries FDA aims to give full approval to Pfizer vaccine by Labor Day: report Overnight Defense: Police officer killed in violence outside Pentagon | Biden officials back repeal of Iraq War authorization | NSC pushed to oversee 'Havana Syndrome' response MORE pledged to ban new drilling permits, which are typically granted on land that’s already leased to drillers, as part of his climate plan. 

However, since taking office, his administration has not said whether that will be its ultimate goal as it reviews federal oil and gas drilling. 

While it conducts its review, the Biden administration temporarily paused new oil and gas leasing. However, a federal judge recently placed an injunction on that pause, meaning the administration can’t keep it in place while the judge evaluates its legality.

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Read more about Haaland’s testimony here.

 

DAYS OF BLAZE: Heat wave sparks historically unseasonable wildfires in West

The week after one of the worst heat waves in the history of the Western U.S., a series of wildfires has already broken out unseasonably early, sparking fears that this will be one of the worst fire seasons ever.

The normal wildfire season of summer and fall is approaching at a time when the entire West has experienced an unusually low winter snowpack and an early snow melt.

This has led to dryer conditions that could exacerbate fires by July and August as well as into early autumn.

What’s causing the fires?: The week after one of the worst heat waves in the history of the Western U.S., a series of wildfires has already broken out unseasonably early, sparking fears that this will be one of the worst fire seasons ever.

The normal wildfire season of summer and fall is approaching at a time when the entire West has experienced an unusually low winter snowpack and an early snow melt.

This has led to dryer conditions that could exacerbate fires by July and August as well as into early autumn.

Read more about the fires here.

 

PFAS AND FURIOUS: Watchdog calls on Pentagon to detail 'forever chemicals' cleanup expenses

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) called on the Department of Defense (DOD) this week to detail its cleanup expenses for “forever chemicals” from water supply sources near military bases.

In a report released Tuesday, the government watchdog said the Pentagon has not reported how much it would cost to address per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a class of chemicals found in firefighting foams used by the military.

Backstory: The Pentagon has been working to address PFAS contamination in drinking water on its bases and has estimated that it would cost over $2.1 billion beginning in fiscal year 2021 to clean up.

However, GAO said the department “has not reported future PFAS cost estimates, or the scope and limitations of those estimates, in its annual environmental reports to Congress.”

“By reporting this information to Congress, DOD would ensure that Congress has increased visibility into the significant costs and efforts associated with PFAS investigation and cleanup at or near military installations,” the report said.

Read more about the report here.

 

ON TAP TOMORROW:

  • The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure’s Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment will hold a hearing on President Biden’s fiscal 2022 budget request

 

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WHAT WE’RE READING:

Striking Alabama coal miners take protest to Wall Street, AL.com reports

Judge dismisses tribe's case against DAPL, closing the books for now, The Grand Forks Herald reports

Coal-state Republican and centrist Democrat point Joe Biden to clean energy compromise, The Washington Examiner reports

Crushing climate impacts to hit sooner than feared: draft UN report, AFP reports

 

ICYMI: Stories from The Hill…

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Record heatwave poised to hit Pacific Northwest

Biden administration orders environmental review of Line 5 pipeline permit

Michigan electric utility proposes to stop using coal as fuel source by 2025

Granholm defends US emissions targets: 'If we don't take action, where are we?'

Hurricane Sandy survivors try to hold onto their homes nearly 10 years later
 

OFF BEAT AND OFF-BEAT: Do unto others whatever a spider can